Knocknagree 1-14 Bishopstown 0-10
THE Knocknagree juggernaut just kept on rolling in Carrigadrohid on Sunday as they defeated Bishopstown in Group B of the Bons Secours Cork SAFC to ensure their place in the knockout stages along with St Michael’s.
The Duhallow side followed up on their impressive first-round victory over Kiskeam with a very composed and professional display here, that saw five of their six forwards scoring along with impressive wing-back Michael Mahoney.
It was an excellent overall performance from the Duhallow side, who experienced coach John Fintan Daly has formally put his name forward for the Cork manager's job.
Goalkeeper Patrick Doyle was rock solid between the sticks, Daniel O’Mahony was outstanding at full-back, David O’Connor got through an amount of work at midfield while up front, they just had that bit more class than their opponents with Fintan O’Connor, Gearóid Looney and David Twomey particularly prominent.
Their poise was evident in the second half as they turned to play with the breeze with a decent but not unsurmountable 1-7 to 0-7 advantage after a first half that was very competitive. Liam O’Driscoll did bring the city side within two within seconds of the re-start, but after that Knocknagree were in control as they moved the ball cleverly, mixing up the pace and picking off their scores when the time was right.
Fintan O’Connor restored their one-goal lead before further points from Gearóid Looney and impressive debutant, David Twomey, saw them push five clear. Bishopstown sharpshooter Simon Collins gave his side a boost with his fifth point just before the water break, but from there to the finish, Knocknagree squeezed the life out of their opponents.
Looney slotted over his second point, Twomey earned two frees that were converted by Fintan O’Connor before Looney had his third second-half point to leave his side with a 1-14 to 0-9 advantage. Bishopstown’s Colm O’Driscoll completed the day's scoring but they now face into a final game with Kiskeam to try and avoid a successive battle with relegation.
Bishopstown started well and Collins gave them an early lead before Knocknagree found their stride. Mahoney brought the sides level before Twomey gave them the lead for the first time. Then, when Fintan O’Connor rattled the net after good work from James Dennehey and Eoghan McSweeney before tapping over a free, Knocknagree seemed set to push on, but the Town had other ideas.
Collins had his first from play, captain Dara Costello also found his range before two more frees from Collins left the sides all square at 1-3 to 0-6 with 20 minutes played. Points from John Fintan Daly and O’Connor pushed the Duhallow side ahead again but a fine score from Liam O’Driscoll left just the minimum between them with half-time approaching.
Crucially though, Knocknagree finished the half strongly with a mark from O’Connor and an excellent score from Eoghan McSweeney to lead by 1-7 to 0-7.
From there, they pushed for home as their remarkable rise continues. They annexed the Junior County in 2017 and now they are guaranteed a place in the last six of the Senior A Championship.
They will face St Michael’s, who have also won their first two games, in their final group game for the right to top the group and from there, who knows where the road will take them.